How much scope have you got to improve your running?


Whether you're an experienced runner or have just taken up running and are getting into competitions. At some point, you're going to ask yourself the following question: What am I capable of? What is my running potential?


How long do you continue making progress?

Runners generally make progress over a period of about ten years. Of course, the younger you start, the longer this period is. Conversely, this offers great hope to people who start late in life. This is even truer if you train properly. Start from when you decided to follow a structured training schedule (e.g. by following a Kalenji plan) to apply this 10-year period.

Don't try to progress too quickly and cut corners. Progress is only completed in the mid- and long-term. By trying to reach over-ambitious targets too quickly, you deny yourself major scope for improvement.


What are you capable of?


On roads

You can extrapolate your road-running performance according to your Maximum Aerobic Speed (MAS). The result will be more reliable on a 10 km-run than a marathon. This is because other parameters override pure MAS for longer distances (capacity to maintain MAS, mental strength).


Here are few examples of conceivable times:

 - if your MAS is 13km/h: on a 10 km-run between 56' and 51'20; on a half-marathon between 2h06 and 1h54; on a marathon between 4h35 and 4h05;

- if your MAS is 15km/h: on a 10 km-run between 48'30 and 44'30; on a half-marathon between 1h50 and 1h39; on a marathon between 4h and 3h30

 - if your MAS is 18km/h: on a 10 km-run between 40'30 and 37'; on a half-marathon between 1h30 and 1h22; on a marathon between 3h20 and 2h55;

You will notice that the longer the distance and the running time, the further apart are the peaks and troughs in each time range.


You should allow a 1 km/h difference between various distances

For example, 14 km/h on a 10 km-run = 13 km/h on a half-marathon = 12 km/h on a marathon. Of course, all this is just theory, but it will give you some idea of your potential performance compared to a reference value on another distance.


Trail running

On short trail runs, trail runs and ultra-trail runs, is harder to predict performance. Many criteria enter into the final result:

-       vertical climb

-       technical features of the route

-       how well you know the route

-       your training ground

-       your downhill technique

-       your uphill running technique

-       your use of poles

-       your hydration and even what you eat

-       etc.


Over the years, you will become more experienced at managing your runs and your pre-run stress. You can therefore make progress even though your physical potential remains the same or even lessens with age.


Limit the number of runs

You must limit the number of runs per season. Many runners never reach their potential since they do not have enough training time between their post-run recovery period and their relaxation phase before another run.

It is quite normal to wonder about your running potential. This is above all a matter of genetics. Not everyone can be a top sportsman But this isn't the most important thing. Sporting fulfilment means reaching your potential and the objectives you set yourself. At the end of the day, you are bound to surprise yourself since you would never have believed that you could reach the level you are at now when you took up running.